Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation, and welcome to your Tuesday Morning Quickies. Once again, I’m honored to be your humble correspondent for the day.
Comes now news we have all been expecting, and Louisville fans have been dreading — A Level I Notice of Allegations against the Louisville men’s basketball program related to the FBI investigation into college basketball pay-for-play. Louisville wound up at the epicenter of this investigation when it was revealed that Adidas arranged a $100,000 payment to then-recruit Brian Bowen Jr. in return for accepting a scholarship offer from then-coach Rick Pitino to play at Louisville. Apparently, Bowen was receiving such offers from several schools, including Arizona, Oklahoma State, Texas and Creighton.
Sports Illustrated goes on to describe the charge thus:
A Level One allegation said former head coach Rick Pitino “did not satisfy his head coach responsibility when he failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance.” The notice also included a Level Two “failure to cooperate allegation against the former head coach.”
Other allegations against Louisville include a Level I allegation that boosters (in this case, Adidas employees and executives, among others) provided impermissible aid; a Level II allegation that former men’s basketball staff members provided impermissible benefits; a Level II allegation of failure to monitor and finally, a Level II violation of failure to cooperate, also against Pitino. You can read all the details of the NoA at Louisville’s website.
This is just the latest in a series of NCAA problems for the University of Louisville, and is certainly the most serious and threatening for the program. Were this the 1980’s instead of the second decade of the 21st century, Louisville might well be facing a penalty greater than that famously handed down to Kentucky when an Emery Air express envelope addressed to a UK recruit’s family magically popped open revealing a large sum of cash to a concerned Emery employee.
But what about Iona, who just hired Pitino? Why wasn’t Iona more concerned about Rick Pitino when hiring him, Sports Illustrated asks. The answer is likely thus: The appeal of what a Hall of Fame coach might be able to do outweighs the baggage — that is, unless he winds up with a multi-year show-cause order.
Either they didn’t think about that, or thought the risk was worth it. I can’t imagine the first from intelligent people, so Occam’s Razor applies.
No less than seven programs have received NoA letters from the NCAA over the FBI investigation, but it’s especially tough for Louisville who is still on NCAA probation from the infamous “Cardinal Rules” scandal initiated by former madam and now inmate Katina Powell.
Dang, Cards fans. With friends like these, enemies would seem to be gratuitous. Your program chose... poorly. Hopefully, Chris Mack will turn out to be a better decision.
And Iona? Well, there is the apocryphal but apropos saying about lying down with dogs and waking up with fleas, n’est ce pas?
Tweet of the Morning
"I cannot believe that the NCAA would have the audacity to release this notice of allegations on Star Wars Day, when our attention should be focused on honoring the memory of the brave Ewoks who lost their lives in the battle on the moon of Endor."— Todd Probus (@tprobus) May 4, 2020
Sorry, Cards fans, but shots at Rick Pitino are something we never get too tired of around here. Imagine being a Duke fan and Coach K heading off to a short stint in the NBA only to wind up at North Carolina.
Yeah, that’s too ugly to contemplate, but it actually happened to us.
UL Basketball getting a Level One violation while already being on Probation is not good news for the future— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) May 4, 2020
Troll level: Planetary Emperor.
Finally, when I link a Pat Forde tweet, we have probably reached the End of Days, but it’s just too good:
Third Monday column: Iona is assuredly shocked to see Rick Pitino charged with another NCAA violation after the school’s “diligent” interview process. Which consisted of what, exactly? https://t.co/JF6afLZaoL— Pat Forde (@ByPatForde) May 5, 2020
- This SEC Power Ranking for next season gives UK a surprising position —and one I think is fair.
- Wide receiver (3-star) Armond Scott commits to Kentucky.
- Some recent transfers open some spots on Kentucky’s roster.
- UK already has two talented power forwards signed for next season. How important is a center? I don’t know, but I do know that UK coach John Calipari is really enamored of rim-protectors these days, just like the NBA.
- Brad Calipari returns to Rupp Arena, this time as an opposing player.
Other Kentucky sports
- Softball’s Bailey Vick decides to forgo extra year offered by the NCAA. She will graduate and begin a career in finance instead.
- Plan for starting college football on time presented.
- Paul Finebaum says conferences, not the NCAA, will make the decision when to start football.
Other sports news
- I’m sure you’ve heard by now that the legendary Don Shula has passed at 90 years old. Larry Csonka, one of the three great running backs of Shula’s Super Bowl teams, talks about his former Hall of Fame coach.
- Waterfront parks could rob tsunamis of their power.
- Surprise asteroid just misses the Earth.
- How much energy does it take to blow up a planet? A lot, I imagine, but we can always ask Darth Sidious, AKA Sheev Palpatine. I’m sure he’d know.